Screenprinting in a time of Covid19

Posted by John on

To continue working as a screenprinter during the current lockdown, I have been creating a studio at my home, a two-bedroom flat in west London. 

The printing part is relatively easy: I have swapped a purpose-built suction bed for a large flat chipboard. The screens are now attached to this via two sturdy hinge clamps. In the olden days, when access to commercial screenprinting studios was possible, the screens would have been screwed into weighted and sprung frames.

Instead of a washing trough, I now use a bucket and lots of newspapers. Slower, but it still works. 

However, to make screenprints you need screens. And to make these usually involves a lot of large, expensive equipment: those washing troughs to clean the screens of the previous stencils with cleaning chemicals and a pressure washer, a large ultra-violet light bed and a light-tight drying rack. 

So I have been slowly accumulating these chemicals and bits of kit. Not as easy as it would have been before the virus ... but still just about possible. And I think I'm nearly there. The screencleaning part is almost complete - the chemicals have arrived, the blaster bought and is now attached (thanks to an extension hose, attachment parts for the bathroom tap and a sturdy Jubilee clip which all had to be sourced from the internet bit by bit as the need for them was discovered). 

Now comes the tricky part - how to coat the screens in light-sensitive emulsion, dry them in total darkness and re-expose them to new colour-separation templates under the ultra violet light. I've bought a halogen lamp, taken off the glass front (which acts to filter out the UV) and am nearly ready to go. I need to fix a board to the bathroom window to block out the light, attach the Hallogen lamp to an estate agent's board post, lay this diagonally across the bathroom and experiment with ideal exposure times. 

Watch this space for how I get on. 


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